Understanding The 5 Leading Causes Of Panic Attacks In Teens!

Teenage is a breezy time that will remain in your memory forever. It is a time you transition from a child to an adult. Teenage may not be as rosy for a selected few for numerous reasons like, let’s say, panic attacks.

It is to be noted that more than three million people in America have had panic attacks, and most of them started having them in their teens.

Understanding Panic Attacks In Teens

Panic attacks can be broadly described as crippling feelings along with an increased heartbeat, palpitations, profuse sweating, headache, choking, chest pain, anxiety, chills, trembling, vomiting, fear of death, or passing out, etc. 

Causes Of Panic Attacks In Teens

There are two types of Panic Attacks: Unexpected or uncued and expected or cued panic attacks. Unexpected panic attacks are those that occur without a reason, while expected panic attacks are triggered by certain situations. 

Panic attacks, when recurrent and unpredictable, cause feelings of extreme fear, thanatophobia, and disconnection from reality and are called panic disorders.

Also Check: Self-Harm In Adolescence: Everything You Need To Know!

What Are The Causes Of Panic Attacks In Teens?

There may be many known and unknown reasons behind the panic attacks. Here are the top five reasons behind panic attacks in teens.

? Genetics

There are numerous studies that have concluded that panic attacks are genetically transmitted. If you probe a bit and find that it runs in your family, you are vulnerable to it as well. Some environmental factors can flare it up in varying proportions. Those from families with a history of mental diseases are also prone to panic attacks. 

? Traumatic Events

Traumatic events like sexual abuse in childhood or teens can cause panic attacks in teenage. It can be triggered by similar incidents/situations that remind them of the trauma or without any obvious triggers.

Accidents they had or witnessed also can cause panic attacks in teens. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a reality and may need clinical intervention. Watching movies or series which depict similar situations also can act as a trigger.

? Major Change

Some events that were shocking and difficult to process like the divorce of their parents or the death of their loved or near ones can also set in panic attacks. Even a change of residence or school can serve as the cause of panic attacks.

The transition can be extremely stressful as they are forced to adjust to new circumstances. This is especially so when they are a tad socially awkward.

? Stress

Stressful situations at school or home also can serve as causes of panic attacks. Domestic violence and bullying can bring panic attacks in teens, especially when they do not have a mechanism to give vent their feelings.

Having an overanxious or dominant parent can also cause panic attacks. Verbal abuse at home or school can also crumple a child and they can become prone to panic attacks. When they watch similar situations live or even on television, a panic attack can set in.

? Health Issues

Health issues like asthma or respiratory problems can bring about panic attacks. Imbalances in brain chemistry can also become a cause. Research suggests that those with panic attacks and panic disorder tend to have reduced levels of the neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which are associated with mood fluctuations. 

An overactive amygdala which controls the fight-or-flight response and panic disorder is also a biological cause. Drug abuse can also bring about such issues. Some comorbidities are depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, etc.

Read More: Anger Management For Young Adults – 5 Effective Tips!


When it is a predictable cause, it can be avoided by shunning that activity. But this can lead to teens avoiding schools for avoiding embarrassing situations. The reluctance of many teenagers to get out of their homes is also an avoidance mechanism.

A diagnosis of a panic attack is tricky. The symptoms can show up in other disorders as well. It is best to consult a healthcare practitioner for an evaluation.

Teens thus affected should be educated about ways to tackle panic attacks like with slower and deep breathing. Mindfulness and yoga will also help them tame panic attacks and to ensure that they do not have any long-standing aftermath.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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